Wednesday Weigh-in: Team ME’s Secrets to Staying Focused

In a world filled with texts from friends, cubicle cross convos, Twitter updates and cute cat videos, meeting multiple deadlines seems nearly impossible some days. #teamME is here to offer up the secrets that keep us on track Monday through Friday.

Try One of Our Stay-focused Secrets:

“Keep a master list of action items with due dates, set aside blocks of time on the calendar for in depth strategy sessions, and turn off the phone and email when on deadline.”

– Marie, President + CEO

“Sometimes you have to eat the frog and do the ’worst‘ thing first.”

– Stephanie, Senior Account Manager

“I’ll sip water all day and get up frequently for a refill or take a mini mental break by jumping on social media or reviewing current events. I also put in ear buds and listen to my favorite country artists to lift my mood!”

– Missi, Art Director

“The calendar drives the to-do list, but knowing how to reprioritize is key. Getting caught in meetings may mean pushing to-dos to tomorrow.”

– Mark, COO

“Drink a glass of water every one to two hours. It keeps me hydrated and refreshed so I can concentrate.”

– Jeanna, Account Manager

“I turn my phone upside down – I glance at it far less often when I’m not distracted by every update, and I can still get important calls if they come in. I also re-read this article about stress, resilience and happiness and it recharges me. Every. Time.”

– Mindy, Senior Project Manager

“I make a list at the end of every day, in order of importance, for the following day. It helps me feel confident that I can conquer the next day, as well as frees my mind of work to-do’s, so I can enjoy my family time when I get home.”

– Erin, Art Director

“Every morning, after getting a cup of coffee, I review my list of things to do for the week and organize them based on project deadlines. I write a short list of the most urgent items on a post-it note that I keep directly in front of my keyboard. I cross off items as completed.”

– Leah, Art Director

“Four words: Spotify’s ‘Productive Morning’ playlist.”

– Angela, Account Executive + Social Strategist

Let us know what works for you! Tag @murphyepson and tell us how you make the most of your work day. While you’re here, take time to get to know a little more about our team and the work we do. Or, “like” us on Facebook to stay in touch!

How-to Communicate with a Graphic Designer for Top Notch Results

Hiring a graphic designer to help with your brand’s marketing needs can be a daunting task to someone who struggles with articulating creative concepts. You may have ideas swirling around in your head but find it difficult to deliver it in a way a designer can understand (and vice versa). Over the span of 15 years, I’ve learned that building a relationship with a client from day one and keeping the communication as precise as possible will result in both parties being happy with the results. Some preparation ahead of time will not only help the designer see your marketing needs more clearly, but it will also help with the bottom line.

Define the Project

Before the meeting, knowing what materials you’ll need is key. Are the pieces digital or in print? Is it a logo, a brochure or a website? Do you already have a brand established? Are you looking for a re-brand or a refresh? (Here’s how to know the difference.) In any case, bringing examples or documents that support your vision can help the designer bring forth a product you’ll love.

Fill Us In

At the first meeting, give an overview of what your company is about. Key messaging or a mission statement is also a helpful way to direct a designer’s understanding of the business. Be as specific as possible, including who your target audience is. Discuss some ideas about what the project is or a rough idea of what you would like it to be. Be open to a brainstorming session that will allow for creativity to flow. To avoid any confusion later, it’s a great idea to discuss all the logistics of the project from start to finish. This would include concepts, drafts, editing, deadlines and production.

Get the Ball Rolling

If you need inspiration, here are a few ideas that clients have brought to our meetings to open up the conversation:

  1. Pinterest board for inspiration
  2. Website pages you admire
  3. Key words or phrases of the look or feel you’re going for
  4. Paint swatches from a hardware store of color palettes you enjoy
  5. Sketches on paper/napkins
  6. Logos from other companies and why you like them
  7. Documents with your company’s messaging and mission
  8. Photos of your company’s office and environment

 

Next time you are meeting with a graphic designer, hopefully these tips and advice will open a creative portal that will make it an easier experience for you and the design team. For more on working with creatives, check out our write-up on 3 Tips for Working with Creatives.

 

Wednesday Weigh-In: Thanks and Giving

The MurphyEpson team believes in credit where its due. From snaps at our weekly production meetings to showing gratitude to the one who gets the coffee brewing each day, we believe in “thanks.”

But for the time of year filled with turkey, mashed potatoes, football and those we hold near and dear to our heart, we wanted to express our thanks in a special way.

Here’s our Thanksgiving edition of Wednesday Weigh-In on what #teamME is thankful for:

Mark: I’m thankful that the team does GREAT WORK every day!

Missi: So many things to be thankful for that I could write a book but if I had to narrow it down to a small list, it would be these things:

A healthy, bright and kind-hearted daughter

An amazing career with awesome co-workers

Great friendships that help me get me through life

Leah: Cozy Saturday mornings on my couch with coffee, cats and my laptop. And cookie dough, because why not.

Elizabeth: I am so blessed and thankful for my relationships with family and friends, including those with fur and four legs. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Cindy: The chance to do meaningful work, family, friends and a healthy body (not sure about the mind sometimes!) so I can travel to some pretty fun places.

Nick: I am thankful for my family, friends, church community and chocolate.

Rachel: I’m thankful for my coworkers who get me through long days, friends who get me through long weeks, my precious pup who gets me up for early mornings and macarons and meditation that fill in the gaps.

Jeanna: I’m grateful for my work/life balance!

Erin: I’m thankful for the countless memories made on a daily basis as my little twin girls grow to understand what the holidays are all about. Like the fact they can now say “turkey, gobble gobble!”

Cam: I am thankful for a college internship with co-workers who make me laugh, 51 amazing housemates that support my skinny pop addiction, a short commute from home so I can visit my two gorgeous puppies whenever I’m in need of puppy snugs, a family that keeps me smiling and excited about the little things (like clean crawl spaces and potluck dinners) & the Buckeyes!

 

We hope you have the happiest of Thanksgivings and find time to reflect on what you’re grateful for.

3 Tips for Working with Creatives When You Have an Engineering Mind

Yes, I have a relentless desire to understand how things work, troubleshoot problems and plan ahead like a chess player. But five years ago, when I decided to semi-retire from my life as a developer, I made the jump into a new role as Chief Operations Manager (VP of Operations, COO, you get the point) here at MurphyEpson. Now, I work with a team of passionate and creative thinkers who exceed our clients’ expectations every day, making our team proud and our clients even prouder.

However, as an engineer walking into a creative environment, I had a lot of knowledge to share, but also a lot to learn. We think differently. We plan differently. Yet we all have something extraordinary to bring to the table.

 

Here are my three biggest tips for working with creative minds:

  1. Get to know the visual thinkers
    Adobe InDesign is not a software that I want to start learning at this stage in my career. And it’s a good thing (for everyone involved) that I don’t have to. Our designers have a good understanding of how to utilize the latest design tools to bring campaigns, branding and so much more to life. Engineering minds default to technical, not always understandable, items and your designers can share that technological information visually to make it relatable to the public.
  2. Distilling, crafting and editing is all part of the process
    Our copywriters who specialize in digital advertising, public and media content creation work to share your most relevant and easy-to-follow content. Sometimes that means they distill your 50-slide, copy-heavy presentation into a slim 15 slides with guidance for visuals. These experts know how to craft a message and deliver it in a way that is meaningful and impactful to the desired audience. It’s important to trust their craft – and, after all, humans now have a shorter attention span than goldfish.
  3. The whole is greater than each of its parts
    Together – as #teamME – we achieve success. Do we need creative, outside-of-the-box thinkers? Of course. Do we need hyper-organized and efficient communicators? No agency could function without them. Do we need analytical, engineering-minded folks like me? We wouldn’t be MurphyEpson without us. It’s our add-on. Our bonus. Our difference-maker. Always learn about others strengths but don’t lose sight of your own. A true skill set can be modified to apply in any setting.

 

Voted “Most Likely to Give Great Dad Advice,” by #teamME, Mark Keister is MurphyEpson’s skilled COO.

For more on the thoughts of our trusted team, check out our goals for October in last week’s Wednesday Weigh-in!

 

Meet Our Graeters-Loving, Buckeye-Cheering Planner, Nick!

Name: Nick Hoffman
Title: Assistant Project Manager + Planner

 

Welcome to #teamME! Tell us a little about yourself.

I originally hail from Napoleon, Ohio and attended the Ohio State University with degrees in both Geography (B.A.) and City and Regional Planning (M.C.R.P.). While in graduate school, I held an internship at the Ohio Department of Transportation and following graduation, I decided to permanently relocate to the Columbus area. For the past 12 years I’ve been employed by the civil engineering firm M•E Companies/IBI Group in Westerville as a professional planner (American Institute of Certified Planners).

 

OK, now it’s time for some rapid fire.

If you could have a cup of coffee with anyone, who would it be? Tea with Pope Francis

What’s your spirit animal? Walrus

What was your first job? Wendy’s

What’s the next country you want to travel to? Italy (Or anywhere in Europe)

If you were a Crayola crayon, what would your name be? Fuzzy Wuzzy

Where did you go to college? The Ohio State University (2002, 2004)

 

Phew. What a doozy. Catch your breath and tell us what you do at MurphyEpson.

I coordinate a range of public involvement projects and manage client accounts.

 

What do you do outside of work?

I love to read, bake, dabble in graphic arts, cheer on the Buckeyes and spend time with my friends and their children (many of whom refer to me as ‘uncle’ Nick). My ‘other job’ involves volunteering at my parish (Church of the Resurrection) in New Albany, Ohio, with our high school Confirmation and youth ministry programs, overnight retreats, bible studies and other activities.

 

MurphyEpson has cultivated quite the culture of philanthropy. What’s your favorite way to give back to the community?

Every summer in July I volunteer with a faith-based program called ‘Blest Week Ever.’ This five-day service program involves leading area high school students to serve those in need (within inner-city Columbus) at soup kitchens, homeless shelters, food pantries, day camps, nursing homes and other social service agencies.

 

You’ve got one day in Columbus. What do you do?

If attending an OSU football game and tailgate is off the table, I’d want to stop by the Franklin Park Conservatory, grab some lunch at Tommy’s or Adriatico’s Pizza, stroll through OSU’s campus, stop by Graeter’s for some mint-chip ice cream, do some shopping at Easton and finish up with dinner at Cap City Diner.

 

What’s one piece of advice you would give to an agency newcomer?

Sometimes your workload may seem daunting, but take a breath and focus on one task at a time. I call this the ‘command and conquer’ technique.

 

Give us a note you’d like to end on.

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
J.R.R. Tolkien

 

Awesome! To learn more about Nick, connect with him on LinkedIn!